Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Cranberry Sauce

While I don't have the time to test recipes and give you the perfect cranberry sauce recipe just in time for Thanksgiving, I wanted to share a few from trusted sources that piqued my interest! Thanks to those who emailed recipes!

Cranberry, Ginger & Orange Chutney from A Bountiful Kitchen

Maple Brown Sugar Cranberry Sauce from Baking Bites

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce from Let's Dish - this one sounds right up my alley, as I don't love regular cranberry sauce with turkey, a little heat might really "spice things up" ;)

Fresh Cranberry Orange Sauce from Two Peas and Their Pod

If you try any of these, let us know how it turns out!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli

Stew named this pasta "Pumpkin Gratitude Pasta," but so you would know what it is, I named it otherwise. ;)
I got this recipe from my friend Holly's friend Lindsey (confusing enough?). We had a girls' night and Holly made a delicious butternut squash soup (I'm making it soon, so watch for the recipe). We exchanged recipes, and this recipe really intrigued me! In college, I was dubbed the pumpkin queen, because once fall rolled around, it was all about the pumpkin desserts!! I've never made a savory dish (besides soup) with pumpkin, so I thought I'd give it a go.
I'm so glad I did—it was delicious! The pumpkin makes the pasta so creamy, without adding fat like cheese would! There is also a hint of spicy sweetness, from cinnamon and cloves. I thought the spicy Italian sausage was perfect in this, I think any other sausage might make the pasta too sweet. And the broccoli added great texture! I'll definitely be making this again!!

[ Sorry, this picture doesn't look that appetizing, but trust's good! ]

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Broccoli

1 lb pasta
1 1/2 cups broccoli
1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage (I think I did a whole pound, turkey sausage as usual)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (I don't have this so I just did a couple shakes of cinnamon and a shake of cloves)
1 1/4 cups half-and-half (I used a 12-oz can of evaporated milk)
1 heaping cup canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp brown sugar (I omitted this, it seemed too sweet)
1/4 tsp salt

Cook pasta as directed and add broccoli 2–3 minutes before pasta is done.
Meanwhile, cook sausage on medium heat until browned. Drain fat. Stir in pumpkin pie spice. Cook one minute. Stir in half-and-half, pumpkin, sugar and salt. Cook one minute longer, stirring everything together.
Serve! Can top with parmesan cheese.

The pumpkin queen lives on! ;)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Caramel Apple Pie

I found the recipe I used two years ago (as well as last year) on a loose sheet of paper by my cook books, so I'm not quite sure where exactly it came from, but there are a lot of similar recipes online.
This pie is delicious—really rich and gooey and crunchy. Instead of a regular pie crust top, it has a crumb and caramel topping. :) Yum!

[Sorry, not the best photo. I took it a couple years ago]

Caramel Apple Pie

One 9-inch pie crust (recipe here)
1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
5 1/2 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples (I used green apples)

Crumb Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup butter

Crunchy Caramel Topping:
1/2 cup chopped pecans (toasted if you like)
1/3 cup caramel or butterscotch ice cream sauce

Heat oven to 375º. Prepare pie crust and place in 9-inch pan, crimping edges.
In a large mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and salt. Toss the apples with the sugar mixture and pour them into the prepared crust.
With a fork or pastry cutter, combine the crumb topping ingredients until well mixed. Sprinkle the topping over the apple mixture (pie might be heaping now, but it's okay—it settles a little once the apples are cooked).
Bake pie for 20–30 minutes, until crust is golden brown. Cover pie with foil and bake for another 20 minutes, until the apples are tender. Remove the pie from the oven and sprinkle on the pecans. Drizzle caramel sauce on top. Cool on a wire rack.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Aunt Mara's Stuffing

When I asked Mara if I could post her (mother's) recipe, she said I “might seriously underwhelm [my] readership.” ;) It's not the most difficult stuffing recipe, nor are there any ingredients that make it “gourmet,” like sausage or apples or pecans. But it's my favorite stuffing recipe, and I know a lot of people in my family feel the same way! It's a fairly easy recipe (and it is so delicious), here it is for you!

Aunt Mara's Stuffing

24 cups cubed (about three jelly roll pans), dried bread* (leave out or dry in oven)
2 cubes of butter
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
3 cups chopped celery
1 Tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp dried sage
1 (12 oz) can evaporated milk
2–3 (14.5 oz) cans chicken broth
2 eggs

* Mara said her mom uses homemade bread, but if you don't want to make homemade bread, buy some nice artisanal bread

Place cubed bread in LARGE pan or bowl.
In a medium saucepan, add butter, onion and celery. Melt butter and cook until onions and celery are soft and slightly translucent. Stir in salt, pepper and dried sage.
Pour butter mixture over bread and distribute evenly.
Pour evaporated milk and chicken broth over bread and “stir until fairly gooey.”
Beat two eggs and stir in.
Flatten stuffing in greased pan. Bake at 350º for about an hour.

Mmmmm....I can almost taste it now! Can't wait to have it at Thanksgiving!

I hope you'll try this recipe (even if it's not for Thanksgiving, just half the recipe), and let us know how you like it!

Thanks, Mara!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Thanksgiving Must-Haves

Whoa—time is flying by. One minute I find out I'm pregnant, the next I'm getting a (small) belly and have neglected this food blog for months! I am SO sorry and will really try to be better!!

I haven't been too adventurous trying new recipes lately (now that things finally sound good again, I can't eat very spicy foods unless I want heartburn), but I do have a few recipes to share.

What are your family's Thanksgiving dinner must-haves? You know, the things you have every year, made the same way, and just love them (even though they might not be the most extravagant foods).

Here's my list, that might also help the procrastinator who is putting Thanksgiving dinner together ;)

  • Turkey (duh)- simple and roasted in the oven
  • Stuffing (another duh)- my Aunt Mara makes the BEST homemade stuffing ever. Recipe (hopefully) coming soon!
  • Sweet Potatoes/Yams- with marshmallows (old school style) or carmelized nuts on top!
  • Mashed Potatoes and Gravy- basic but sooo yummy!
  • Rolls- I love when we make these rolls for Thanksgiving! So festive!!
  • Cranberry sauce- honestly, I could probably do without it, but always put a little dot on my plate because it's festive. I need to find a good recipe. Do you go with canned or homemade?
  • Green Beans with Almondsthis recipe looks absolutely divine
  • Veggie Platter- you know, for all the snacking and chatting while everyone is getting things ready
Desserts have their own list :)
  • PUMPKIN PIE- this is a must have!! And lots of it! You can't run out of pumpkin pie!
  • Apple pie- I made a GREAT caramel apple pie last year. I'll post the recipe soon!
  • Banana Cream Pie- totally not a Thanksgiving food, but my mom makes it almost every year, and I always take a slice (one- because I love it and two- because it's on the better-for-you side). Recipe here.
  • Pecan Pie- this wasn't a must-have for me until I made this bittersweet chocolate pecan pie...and I'm making it again this year!
  • Any other kind of dessert, really- this includes but is not limited to: cherry pie, chocolate pie, haupia pie, cheesecake (ooh! ooh! pumpkin cheesecake!!!), pumpkin blondies, pumpkin crunch, ice cream, cookies, and cookies
So just to recap (for myself) the recipes I will be posting asap:
  • Aunt Mara's stuffing recipe (if she'll give it to me!)
  • A good cranberry sauce recipe (if you have one, let me know!)
  • Caramel apple pie
That should keep me busy for a while! ;)

What are the foods you just HAVE to have at Thanksgiving dinner?

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Does Buying in Bulk Save You Money?

Hello fellow foodies! Yes, it's me, Stew! While my wife is still in a "food funk" (being pregnant and all), I figured I would make our next food posting. Now lest you all think that I am totally oblivious to our blog...I'll have you know that I am very involved "behind the scenes".

For those of you who don't know me, let me tell you a little bit about myself:
I am 28 years old.
I love my wife (very much).
I love food.
I am a financial advisor by profession.
And, I will find ANY WAY that I can to translate everything that I do in life back to finance. :)

So for a while I've been wanting to do a little research. About a year ago, the wife and I got a membership to a wholesale food store (Sam's Club--it's the closest one to us). They charge us $40 a year for our membership. Over the years, I have been told that buying in "bulk" will save us money over the long run. But I was skeptical. I don't always trust what people say. I have to find things out for myself. So this weekend, Lindsey let me indulge in a little finance research. We spent close to 4 hours comparing the prices of some of our commonly purchased items at both Sam's Club and Smith's Grocery Store.

I think you'll be here to see the research (and to print a pdf if you want).

We thought we were saving more by buying store brand products at Smiths...but in reality (on some items) we could actually buy name brand at Sam's Club cheaper!

Please keep in mind that while wholesale stores are have to SAVE AT LEAST the price of your membership fee (annually) to breakeven. If you don't then it's NOT worth the membership. We have 2 months to go before our 12 month membership is up...and so far we have save $ we have saved $1.11. But until now, we really haven't been using it very often. BUT WE WILL NOW.

Okay foodies--tell us. Where have you found food the cheapest? Do you use wholesale stores or local grocery stores? Do you use coupons to get that low price? Tell us...I'm sure everybody would like to know. ;)

Enough money talk...I know you all want more recipes. I'll have to bug Lindsey to step it up now that she's past her first trimester. ;) I think she's finally getting her appetite back.

: : lindSTEWfoodies : :